Even at the age of 78, Neil Young is showing little inclination to slow down. Whether releasing newly recorded material (World Record), shelved albums from the 1970s (Chrome Dreams), old live sets (Odeon Budokan) or remastered versions of his back catalogue (Ragged Glory), he’s still pumping out records with Stakhanovite intensity. Before and After features reimagined solo versions of 13 songs from his back catalogue – from three Buffalo Springfield numbers to the closing Don’t Forget Love from 2021’s Barn – and one new song, the haunting If You Got Love, all sequenced into one seamless 48-minute suite.
A slowed-down, stripped-back On the Way Home loses some of the 1968 original’s joyous momentum, but gains much in the way of emotional power. A more fragile and intimate-sounding Comes a Time similarly benefits from its reinvention. The only slight misstep is Mother Earth, which swaps the original version’s distorted guitar for pump organ – but as it’s Young’s voice that still takes centre stage, that feels more of a cosmetic change than the imaginative reworkings elsewhere.
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